WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Build Back Better Act, an ambitious piece of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda, which is the largest expansion of the social safety net in generations. Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, released the following statement:
“This is a great and momentous day for America. When enacted into law, Build Back Better will be the most transformational legislation passed in at least half a century. It will make America a kinder, more decent, and just nation, and will finally get the federal government on the path to taking meaningful action to address the climate crisis.
“It will take some time before we all appreciate how consequential this legislation is. The child tax credit provision alone will move millions of children above the poverty line. If that was all the legislation did, it would be a landmark. But it is full of provisions to provide free or enhanced access to housing, home-based care, preschool, child care, lower insulin prices, hearing care for seniors, and much more.
“Build Back Better will make America a better place for everyone. Its benefits will in particular aid and empower poor and working-class families. It will relieve some of the inequitable caregiving burdens that our society imposes on women. It will advance racial justice.
“And, at the same time, it finally commits the federal government to policies aiming to drive major greenhouse gas emissions reductions, an imperative to avoid the worst impacts of global heating.
“Now it’s time – past time – for the Senate to pass Build Back Better without further dilution. As extraordinary as the package is, some of its most popular features — including lowering prescription drug prices and expanding Medicare to cover hearing, dental, and vision care – have been eviscerated or watered down. As the bill moves forward in the Senate, those provisions should rightfully be strengthened; at minimum, there must be no further caving to the power of Big Pharma, insurance corporations, and other special interests.
“Even in a time of extreme partisanship on Capitol Hill, it must be asked: Why exactly is the Republican Party in lockstep opposition? Build Back Better is going to make America better. It is packed with overwhelmingly popular policies transcending party. It is fully paid for by tax revenues that will come entirely from the rich and corporations. Do Republicans really oppose a guarantee of free or affordable daycare? Do they want children to live in poverty? Is ensuring that the super-rich can avoid paying a modest additional amount in taxes really more important than taking care of everyone in society?
“America needs Build Back Better immediately. It’s proof positive that we can have the better country we all desire.”